We like to feature photos up there at the top
comparing the built environment with the natural
one. Compare, in this case, the industrious ants on
the opposite page with the roofer on this one. The
photos have more in common than similar compo-
sition; in each we see workers building up a home,
attempting to forfend the harsh grips of nature…
protecting their communities. I believe that each of
these communities—human and insect—greatly
value the labors of these workers.
The articles in this issue have many common-
alities but are also a study in contrasts. For exam-
ple, our cover story is about the changes that have
taken place in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood
over the last twenty years—changes that can be
largely be attributed to community activism. Neigh-
bors have come together to shut down coal plants,
create open spaces and, now, redevelop brown-
Alternatively, a different article looks at the ef-
fect of globalization on small businesses in Illinois,
specifically those that offer green building products
and services. How can these companies best take
advantage of the international marketplace?
We also have two features on two very different
projects. Both are on the south side and have ob-
tained, or will, LEED Platinum status. The first proj-
ect is a high school, completed last year. It was
designed to foster innovation in its students and to
give the community a focal point.
The other project, under construction right now,
is quite different. It’s a manufacturing facility, where
environmentally-conscious home and body care
products will be fabricated and shipped out.
Finally, we look at an issue that has divided
many in the region. There are mounds of petroleum
byproduct, known as petcoke, out in the open air
along the Calumet River. Are these piles of useful
and safe raw materials, as industry folks claim, or
carcinogenic time bombs, as nearby residents
Sustainable Chicago is available at no charge
and, in keeping with the green mission, is available
only electronically. I hope you enjoy this issue of
Sustainable Chicago and welcome your comments
and suggestions.
Matt Baker